HMNZS Taranaki, Otago, Waikato, Canterbury Credit: National Museum of the NZ Navy 

This year should see a lot of changes at Waka Kotahi.

At the end of May, the Ministry for the Environment intends to publish its Emissions Reductions Plan (ERP), which will lay out the policies and strategies for meeting the first emissions budget. The timing will mark the close of Sir Brian Roche’s term as Board Chair. From June on, there’ll be a new Board Chair (yet to be appointed or announced).

The CEO, Nicole Rosie, will continue to lead the organisation. She can already pre-empt a lot of the transport planning required to meet the ERP. The organisation is due for making a U-turn on some fundamental planning concepts anyway.

In Europe, the New EU Urban Mobility Framework was published mid December. It calls for governance at all levels:

to take more decisive action on urban mobility to shift from the current approach based on traffic flows to an approach based on moving people and goods more sustainably.

In the US:

The OECD’s International Transport Forum (ITF) is urging countries to:

Each of these indicates a massive shift in planning, and Rosie shouldn’t wait for the ERP to be published before establishing new systems. Waka Kotahi’s planning – based on traffic flows and treating road diets with skepticism – still uses the outdated “predict and provide” planning methods. The ITF warn:

the use of such forecasting methods often seems to have led to a cyclical reinforcement of undesirable trends.

These “undesirable trends” – like our high emissions, safety crisis, and maintenance costs spiralling out of control – won’t be addressed until the planning is overhauled.

The ITF go so far as to say:

Some work is underway. Waka Kotahi’s Board Chair has said:

Internally we’ve done a lot of work to actually align the culture, focus and understanding of what we are seeking to do on a daily basis.

The trouble is, the scale of change required is massive. Leadership needs to be crystal clear that achieving new outcomes is as much about clearing out unsustainable work programmes as it is about adding in new ones. The staff who are doing progressive work are stymied by the organisation’s focus on road expansion. It’s simply no coincidence that the planning methods which should have been dropped long ago, are the ones that skew the investment evaluations to favour road building.

We need a flip in paradigm at leadership level.

This post is about the 2020/21 Annual Review of Waka Kotahi, where the agency’s:

  • Board Chair Sir Brian Roche,
  • CEO Nicole Rosie and
  • General Manager of Transport Services Brett Gliddon

faced scrutiny from parliament’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee. It was an opportunity for:

  • Members of parliament from four different parties to question the agency’s performance,
  • The agency to provide technical advice, dispel myths held by the politicians, and to explain the consequences of political direction on outcomes, and
  • The public to see how topics are being discussed, in order to hold everyone to account.

This transparency is important. Although in theory the government’s direction is given in the Government Policy Statement on Transport (GPS) and both good governance and leadership ensure it is implemented via good planning:

in reality, the Minister is shackled with challenges in the governance system. This is an international problem:

The public can’t leave this to chance. To ensure Waka Kotahi adopt sustainable planning processes, we need a good view of their planning processes and decisions AND a good view of the political direction they’re being given, and governance to achieve it. In short, transparency will help everyone upskill together:

The last thing we need is more secrecy, as indicated by Roche:

I think the lesson is we need to be perhaps more cautious about what is made public before we have a clear ability to execute on it.

Climate Planning

We are still hearing aspirational words from Roche:

Our role in the pathway to a carbon reduced world is going to evolve in the next short while and that will require us to change our attitudes and focus on a wide range of areas.

Yet New Zealand made commitments to emissions reductions last century. Roche was the inaugural chair of Waka Kotahi so can hold a significant level of responsibility for the “attitudes and focus” not being sustainable from the outset.

Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) was discussed at the annual review, one of the country’s more progressive programmes of work.

Green Party MP Ricardo Menendez March asked whether its delivery dates are aligned with our emissions reduction ambitions:

I’m noting that the draft ERP wants to cut vehicle use by 20% by 2035, and LGWM will only be completed by 2036 at the earliest and 2043 at the latest. So do you think these projections are still useful in light of our need to rapidly reduce emissions and encourage mode shift?

Roche responded:

Yes we do. LGWM has several components to it. One is mode shift. The other one is getting better connectivity and mobility across the city. I think, when you consider the issues in LGWM, we’re actually addressing problems which aren’t emerging but that have been with the community for ten years. So we don’t actually have the luxury of getting perfect alignment but we will do our best to ensure there is best alignment.

Planning doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does need to be timely. Good “decide and provide” planning can speed up a radical reduction in vehicle travel, using concepts like road reallocation. Road widening like below, on the other hand, stems from outdated “predict and provide” planning:

And while expressions like “the luxury of perfect alignment” give an appearance of being “moderate”, they work to divert attention from the MP’s important query about climate planning. “Climate Change” and “Better Travel Options” are key strategic priorities in the Government Policy Statement on Transport (GPS), and both require a focus on enabling mode shift. Neither are “emerging” issues. The GPS specifically directs Waka Kotahi to take a more proactive role in accelerating mode shift, and the system can be designed for people, sustainably, with no conflict between “mode shift” and “connectivity and mobility”.

Property Purchase

The General Manager of Transport Services, Brett Gliddon, then added:

if we can accelerate the next phases of the detailed design and consenting phases, and procurement, then absolutely. We will look to start that sooner.

Ricardo Menendez March remained outcomes-focused:

… could [you] give me some more detail about what you think needs changing in order for you to feel confident that it can be… fit for purpose, with the draft ERP, in terms of cutting emissions and also vehicle use?

The General Manager answered:

I think the constraints on LGWM and the dates are around just the realities of delivering major projects. Bearing in mind this is about $6b worth in investment both in light rail or some form of mass transit, and strategic road. The constraints on that are naturally doing the detailed design but [also] the property purchase and going through the consenting pathway

And therein lies the rub. Road widening requires more land, introducing expensive property purchase costs, and complicating the consenting pathway. In the new paradigm, using road reallocation rather than road widening, these costs are minimised and the consenting pathway is far easier.

The politician asked good questions, but the agency showed reducing vehicle travel is not yet central to their planning.

Travel time savings

National MP Simeon Brown also asked about LGWM:

you’re going to close a tunnel for walking and cycling, build a tunnel with no additional lanes, and effectively mean that motorists are spending an extra eight minutes getting from the airport to Johnsonville, and there’s still that decision around a potential pedestrian crossing on Cobham Drive, which carries 35,000 vehicles a day. It just seems ironic that you’re still calling it “Let’s Get Wellington Moving”.

This was an opportunity for the transport leaders to explain that “additional lanes” for vehicles are not the mark of a quality project. Indeed, improved outcomes are achieved by reducing traffic, which often involves removing lanes. Here are a few of the pathways involved:

The problem on Cobham Drive is too many vehicles, and a traffic reduction approach is needed, not an aversion to providing the most basic level of safety for people on foot. Instead, Roche replied:

We don’t think there’s any irony in that title. Your point’s well made.

Which point was well made?

  • The point about additional lanes?
  • The point about the pedestrian crossing?
  • The point about motorists’ travel times?

Here was an opportunity to explain that focusing on motorists’ travel times hasn’t worked, whereas a focus on mode shift and safety improves the system for everyone, including drivers.

That’s why we’re out for consultation, and we’ll be guided by the comments that come back before we make the big capital decisions. As Brett said, there are some early wins, and then there are some very hard decisions facing this community, and we’ll get to that when we’ve got the appropriate information and feedback from the public.

Perhaps Roche was defending the consultation process. Or perhaps he was reassuring the MP that with enough public or political push, additional lanes could be added to the design – despite their impact on emissions and future generations.

Corridor Protection

A related issue was raised by the ACT MP Simon Court:

So earlier this year, the State Highway Whangarei to Port Marsden four-laning project was cancelled and that budget was allocated to the rail spur project. Why is it that there is no attempt or budget to protect the corridor for the four laning, and does that mean that that project is not likely to go ahead?

If Waka Kotahi do their job, vehicle traffic volumes will drop across the country, so there’ll be little need for four-laning from now on.

Instead of explaining this, Roche said,

We’ve made no secret of our lack of funding to achieve some of what you’ve said. You know, we believe very strongly that we should be protecting corridors for future generations but that is an issue of funding…

Future generations have many needs, but corridor protection for creating four lane roads is not one of them. The General Manager then pointed out the source of funding for this particular project was the NZ Upgrade Package and so was directly funded by government. This was a useful answer. He could have further explained that no community in New Zealand has indicated it is willing to pay tolls that would cover all the costs of and externalities imposed by road widening – including the impacts on public health, accessibility, urban form, local environment and climate.

Four-laning can not realistically be achieved in line with the ACT party’s user pays principles. Waka Kotahi should be providing that information, so the politician can direct his questions where they are most useful.

In Summary

Waka Kotahi need to demonstrate how they will:

  • Shift to a “decide and provide” approach based on moving people and goods more sustainably
  • Plan for timely reductions in vehicle travel, aiming for sustainable outcomes in the short and medium term
  • Use road reallocation and asset repurposing, along with tactical methods
  • Treat property purchase and corridor protection as a red flag; an indication the project is probably attempting to accommodate “predicted” traffic volumes

For the sake of our health, the liveability of our country and our children’s future in a healthier environment, 2022 needs to be the year Waka Kotahi changes course, and throws all its resource into sustainable transport planning. The politicians need to give their support – and strong direction – to make sure this happens.

Let’s hold them all accountable.

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  1. Great post Heidi, with some stark quotes from Roche et al. Hopefully a new head can come at these issues with a 21st century mindset.

  2. Great post! It still amazes me that having so many examples of how certain things simply don’t work (like widening roads to accommodate the existing traffic which consequently drives both traffic and congestion up and not down…) Waka Kotahi is still trying to solve the existing problems using last century’s tools and approaches. There’s way too much focus on widening the roads, so no wonder the construction and maintenance costs spiral out of control. Narrowing some of the roads or better yet reallocating some of the general traffic lanes to active modes would decrease their costs.
    The reality which doesn’t seem to have sunk deep enough at Waka Kotahi is that we all can’t drive everywhere and all the time. A lot of the existing trips can be made by public transport in our larger cities. But then there’s also the question of intercity travel – there doesn’t seem to be any overarching strategy on how to decrease vehicle volumes between the cities. Rail would be the obvious answer but that requires some serious thinking and courage. It seems that agencies and the MoT lack both of these.

    1. +1. As far as I can tell, there is not a single professional traffic planner, official, civil servant, company, or academic working on regional public transport in New Zealand. (Except on specific routes, like the Capital Connection upgrade.) Please correct me if I am wrong.

      Fantastic post Heidi.

      1. This intercity interegional bus or train thing is annoying me a bit. Intercity does a reasonable job but with a bit of support from council and Govt and it’s various agencies many car miles could be saved.

        1. Yes, they do a reasonable job. I use them as much as possible when travelling between cities, I find it much more convenient than driving which I really don’t like. But the network is not big enough and there isn’t enough services to serve as an alternative, especially in the South Island. It’s decent between Auckland and Hamilton or Auckland and Tauranga. Developing these services really doesn’t require massive investment, so it should be a pretty straightforward task.
          It’s a bit different with rail, especially when it comes to Auckland terminus. Until the third main is not built, it will be really hard to have any trains during peak times coming or leaving The Strand (which I think is a decent place if some direct bus services to the CBD are provided). But I can really imagine trains going to Hamilton and Tauranga. Again, investment would be needed to speed up the trains so that they’re competitive with cars. Nevertheless, I would definitely use the trains to go to both cities if it meant I didn’t have to drive.

        2. Even between Auckland and Hamilton there is no meaningful amount of capacity compared to the motorway.

          How many buses do you have on a day? If you have 50 per day (we don’t), and you can put 100 people on each bus (we can’t), that is still only 5,000 people per day.

    2. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency see its self in public transport, nothing more than a stakeholder despite lacking public transport expertise, attempting to mediate and coordinate with various regional council’s, creating a weak form of national leadership despite funding regional public transport projects.

  3. For New Zealand to lower emissions pollution we need to factor inter-regional and long-distance travel. Options for modal shift in these areas are pretty much nonexistent, passenger rail needs to play a greater role to provide individuals and companies with safe, low emissions travel options which connect communities.

  4. The MP,s “grilling” speaks volumes, there are easy political points to score ,whenever a road widening project gets canned,hence Roche’s desire to keep things secret ,until certainty is assured,it upsets his paymasters. Change requires courage,we are never going to get that from our current politicians, the future generations understand the need,though, this will eventually drive the change. Some of the dinosaurs,will leave quite shameful legacies, from what they didn’t do, 20+ years in parliament, is not an achievement, if you “fiddled, while Rome burned”.
    There is a shortage of skilled labour for road widening projects,rather than bemoaning the fact, the transport planners should be looking at what is in font of them ,and using what is readily available to deal with the issues.
    I was cycling on secondary urban roads, and a truck was behind me, but could not pass,because of oncoming traffic,turned right around roundabout followed by truck, still unable to pass,because of lack of room. It suddenly dawned on me,l wasn’t “holding the truck up”, the parked cars were. This scenario should be asked of potential NZTA candidates, and their responses used as a gauge to their philosophy

    1. “l wasn’t holding the truck up, the parked cars were”
      Yes, yes, yes. Exactly, exactly exactly. Keep telling it like it is, Bryan R.
      Parked vehicles rendering a significant amount of road-width unusable for movement. That is the real situation, replicated x10³ over the whole country. And yet most people turn a blind eye to parked cars choking our streets and instead blame cyclists for holding up traffic.

  5. Yeah all of this hits home. I spent about a year working on Northern Pathway as a consultant, hoping to build a career working on big government infrastructure projects. However I ended up quitting because all the staff members from WK seemed to be interested in was filling out endless and meaningless paperwork, instead of actually making decisions or getting anything of note done. And of course the suggestion of removing vehicle lanes to reduce projects costs or protect significant native vegetation was never feasible. WK are such a poorly run, aimless organisation that will get in the way of achieving our climate change goals.

  6. What a great cold-war photo. A little nation of 3 million people who owned four anti-submarine frigates they didn’t need.

    1. Otago and Taranaki played critical roles in NZ’s response to nuclear testing in the Pacific. Granted they were anti-submarine by design but they mostly played an escort role. Their design was more about maintaining similarity and interoperability with the Royal Navy frigates (difficult when they were transitioning classes and moving from steam to gas turbine) than then needing the specific capability, other than range and speed.

      They were also important as they laid the foundation for the Leanders and broad-beamed Leanders that replaced them. Canterbury in particular played an important role in protecting NZ interests in the Pacific.

      Granted that’s a lot of floating steel for a small country but they played important roles for the country.

      1. Pretty sure if you designed a ship to protest nuclear tests it wouldn’t be a Rothesay class frigate. Truth is NZ, like the rest of the western world was still focussing on the major threats from the 1940s. Hence four anti-submarine frigates and a pack of P-3 Orions (which despite patrolling NZ for years have still never found a hostile submarine).

        If you measured what these boats actually achieved and rounded it to a whole number then it would be zero.

        BTW it was Otago and Canterbury that stood as sentinels at Mururoa.

        1. Yes they were cheaper than sending you men to fight another war in Europe but perhaps there was another path that these old-timey dudes couldn’t imagine.

  7. WK look like an organisation waiting patiently for the inevitable change of government at some point in the future so they can get back to building and widening roads.

    1. They might be disappointed. National governments generally bed in changes that Labour have made during their term. The next National government will be quite different to the Key administration, just as they were quite different to the Bolger administration.

  8. Many good points but I take exception to one point in particular – that of corridor protection.
    Half the reason why our infrastructure projects cost so much these days is that corridor protections weren’t put in place when land was cheaper (and undeveloped). Pushing the can down the road is simply a waste of taxpayers money. If at a future point it is decided that the land is definitely not needed then it can be sold (for a profit I might add).

      1. Agreed.
        As per my comments below I’d like to see a nationwide vision zero infrastructure standard etablished.

        This would require wider road corridors to safely provide for all modes.

        These wider corridors can easily be offset by taking a holistic approach and allowing higher land use density (& preferably mandating it is mixed use as well)

  9. We absolutely should be protecting corridors, but we need to shift what we are protecting them for. We could have protected the Mill Road corridor for a rapid transit solution, feeding people to Manukau and onto heavy rail. A Southern Busway or light rail solution.

    Instead the residents get nothing, the corridor stays unsafe, and they have to battle the southern motorway or get themselves to rail somehow.

  10. Realist and mobula-japanica, the issue with corridor protection is that it is used to get road widening projects onto Waka Kotahi’s conveyor belt. And it is this conveyor belt of road projects that is why politicians suddenly announce stupid road projects to “impress voters” in their various “spending sprees” – instead of progressive projects. WK know how to play this game better than anyone. What we need is a way to get road projects OFF this conveyor belt.

    Eventually, corridor protection could be a useful way to secure land for cycleways and access lanes that support regional traffic circulation changes designed within a VZ paradigm. But the location and priority for these particular corridors will be quite different to the corridors currently considered important for four laning.

    Similarly for public transport, with Mill Rd as a fantastic example. Mill Rd is not where corridor protection is required for PT improvements. There is already a rail line. What the area needs is a fourth rail line and cross town PT and safety and active travel improvements.

    To get the paradigm change underway, we need so much change in focus, and so much reallocation of funding, that corridor protection as it currently stands must be chopped from the programme. Only after the paradigm shift has happened should we reintroduce it. Otherwise, it’ll chew up funding we need to help deliver the paradigm shift.

      1. Once we get the planning paradigm sorted, cycleway building will be commonplace, since we’ve got decades to catch up on. We need to get there first, which requires shifting the focus from road building and intersection widening.

  11. Without road corridor protection you wouldn’t have cycleway superhighway built from Panmure to CBD.

    Without Crown corridor protection the Otago Rail Trail wouldn’t exist to inspire a massive cross-regional network from Port Chalmers Dunedin to Queenstown.

    Panmure to Manukau busway would be near fully built if the route had been protected.

    Anyway. Property and projects are totally the wrong lens.

    Follow the money: congestion charging and a shift to every vehicle paying by the kilometer is where the behaviour-led shifts are going.

    Hopefully this new Minister figures the available levers within NLTF before the election

    1. Panmure to city centre and Panmure to Manukau should have / should be provided through road reallocation. The reasons for not doing so are the outdated transport planning paradigm – “predict and provide” directly prevents road reallocation from being used on these routes.

      The Otago Rail Trail should be a functioning railway. I guess your point is that the rail corridors might be an exception. Sure, let’s protect the rail corridors. It’s sort of an edge case, though, when I’m talking about corridor protection for road widening.

      Agree about congestion charging and per km charging, but this shift requires changes to structures, strategies and processes at many levels. Even the legislation laying out details about how the RCA’s and WK need to follow the GPS might need to be tightened up at this stage.

      1. New dedicated cycleways rarely need private land and do reallocate mode – Panmure-CBD is the obvious. Dunedin – Port Chalmers another.

        Rural passenger rail is dead. It was killed by vastly superior technology. Coal removal will kill many other current freight lines. Don’t weep – it was awful.

        Auckland just spread 30% in 10 years – and NZTA and AT get paid to respond to and service that growth. That’s their statutory job.

        Taking lanes off this most car-addicted society in the developed world just gets you voted out. You guys didn’t even back the Waitemata Cycleway.

        Find a way to back NZTA – you are never going to get a better government thin this one this term. Figure out your advocacy plan Pronto.

        1. Vastly superior technology that doesn’t ruin our ecological base?

          Suggesting NZTA and AT just “respond to growth” is incorrect. The way the results of the four step models (eg MSM) are misapplied to the project transport modelling directly influences the investment evaluations, resulting in roads that create growth.

          Didn’t back the Waitemata Cycleway – you mean the bridge? Did you miss this?:

        2. What “vastly superior technology”? I look at our planes and our cars filling the atmosphere with carbon, I look at the atrocious toll of death and injuries due to road transport, I look at the complete lack of choice available other than these modes, and I look at the many people that this situation does not work particularly well for. Rural passenger rail has been squeezed out by the same skewed policy that has seen over-dependence on the most damaging modes boosted to the fore. Change is long overdue. The only question is, how long can backward-looking policy-makers continue to resist it?

        3. What “vastly superior technology”?

          Cars Dave. They’ve revolutionised travel for the average punter.
          Just because the likes of you and Heidi hate them is neither here nor there.

        4. It makes you wonder why this superior technology requires such massive subsidies to thrive, subsidies that other transport options don’t get?

  12. Tonga could do with a high powered high frequency radio station at the moment. I suppose our navy still use radio or do they just call home on the satelite phone.

    1. HF comms used to be my thing back in the day. Impact of volcano activity on layers in ionosphere would make any comms tricky, reckon my Morse would struggle and burst transmission would come across like a 70’s fax machine.

      1. I doubt that ash would have got as high as the ionosphere however if it was electrically charged it would affect high frequency radio waves. Any radio signal from Tonga to New Zealand would be impacting the Ionosphere at least a thousand kilometres away from Tonga.
        Certainly ash would and did interfere with the ultra high frequency waves which are used in satellite links.
        You may have noticed that rainstorms will obliterate your SKY signal however if you switch to terrestrial the broadcast is unaffected. The difference is that very high frequency are used for terrestrial broadcast while satellites use ultra high frequency. I have no proof but I think that high frequency radio waves would have got through. Its amazing in 2022 that communications can be lost to a small island nation.

        1. Basic HF comms are “bounced” off the layers in the ionosphere ( act differently around Sporadic E layers) so yes the cloud of ash will impact – but not impossible to work through. I once used a barbed wire fence in Outer Hebrides as a dipole and communicated to Central America so I guess anything’s possible!

  13. Surely protecting a 4 lane route between Marsden and SH1 is a sensible precaution given that Northport is likely to get busier in future? Not everything can be shifted sensibly by rail.

    Still waiting for a harbour bridge lane reallocation.
    With TDM on the bridge in 2025 it shouldn’t be a problem.

    20% reduction in vehicle use by 2035 is nearly 2% per year, and effectively more if projected population growth is taken into account. It will be interesting to see how this is achieved as I can only think of widespread use of TDM/tolls, introducing Singapore style “Certificate Of Entitlements”, increasing fuel taxes and rego cost, all of which ware unlikely to be politically saleable.

    1. Paris has had an average annual reduction in vehicle travel over 17 years, of 3.4%, adding up to over 40% reduction, between 2002 and 2019. There’ll be much more since then, thanks to the massive road and parking reallocation undertaken.

      NZ had (and has) many, many more low hanging fruit than Paris did. Had Auckland done the same as Paris, we would **already** have lower vkt levels than the most ambitious of the Ministry of Transport’s pathways, pathway 4, for 2035.

      Simple sustainable planning is all that was required.

    2. Nope, given a 20+% decrease in VKT that NZTA will probably have to do (at least). The massive headroom for growth on that rail line, especially for freight, and the fact that the AADT on that road peaked around 15k – 13k in the busiest year (2019), when the NZTA’s cutoff for motorways is 25k. They could have a ~60-90% increase in traffic on the peak year before even by the NZTA’s standards they could justify a motorway.

      Not to mention that route protection costs money, it’s the same idea as keeping inner city areas low zoned (probably not so extreme), but still. You loose production from that land that would have otherwise been been producing something more valuable. Waiting for something that may never come. This might be less of an issue in the country vs for example downtown areas, but still.

  14. 0) Yes a massive paradigm shift in direction is required.

    1) “still uses the outdated “predict and provide” planning methods.” – P&P only exists because politically no one worldwide has been willing charge road user anywhere near their full costs & few have even been willing to implement congestion tolls. Provide a service for free and of course everyone wants to use it.

    2) Introducing congestion tolls will deal with the majority of the expensive road network upgrades by capping demand at the supply level. The upgrades can be delayed or deleted. Our roads are empty 90% of the time

    3) Parking needs to be fully & dynamically charged for at full cost so the demand goes down & unused spaces can be converted to bus & cycle paths. Where there is demand the revenue can be used to provide alternative on or off street parking so cycle-micromobility paths/bus lanes can be completed.

    4) Travel is simply the result of spatial land use. There is still a very poor connection between land use and transport planning. Even the governments tripling of housing densities isnt enough and can still result in mono-use residential areas rather than mixed use where there are more O-Ds closer together and non-car modes far more viable.

    5) We need a nationwide vision zero transport infrastructure standard, with exceptions only by specific signoff & liability attached to that signoff. Infrastructure being built now needs to be vision zero, not towards vision zero. There isnt the budget or time to rebuild it again by 2050. This standard must provide for walk/cycle/micro-mobility + vehicles with full protected movements along roads and at junctions to be vision zero.

    6) There are range of other costs vehicle users should face – i.e. no ratepayer subsidy, no developer contributions, air pollution tax, full payment towards road damage by trucks, larger payment towards total costs of crashes.

  15. One other point about cycleways/lanes, which I have come to appreciate as a learner driver (getting a UK driver’s licence as my NZ one isn’t valid here). Not only do they make life easier for cyclists, they make life a lot easier for drivers as well,by separating the traffic flows. Ditto for buslanes.

  16. Thanks Heidi, Please head up Waka Kotahi – you have my full support and confidence. Start today please.

    Mr Roche’s response to a footpath linking Aucklands CBD with the Northshore was “its a matter of timing”. 50 years specifically im thinking.

    The end of year Waka Kotahi review forum was an opportunity for our MP’s to drive some change. NZTA it seems owned the stage. NZ needs to do better not just in transport planning, but holding our MP’s to account.

    That 1970’s frigate has no reason to swing to the left or to the right.

  17. we have had 30 years of systemic failure in our government ignoring climate change, and leading to our record of 2nd worst oecd country for emissions growth. Transport is a big part of this and guaranteed we have had 30 years of systemic failure to build better transport networks/systems processes. There is very litte acountability in government for this failure, its not dicussed and the size/scale of the real problems are not discussed as it would show up the failure and the need for massive change. likewise the real solutions are avoided and not discussed. The dinosaurs need to resign and let the visionaries & change makers take over. Maybe 2022 will be different – we need a revolution.

  18. I cannot fathom that our destiny in the transport sector hinges on such backward looking people.
    The question is: is there hope that something better will come?

    The answers to eg ACT MP sound like this Roche guy has zero backbone, I guess even if he knew the right answer he would have not even had the courage to provide it to a back bencher.
    And he’s probably looking to be an exec in one of the reading related companies.

  19. All good analysis, thanks. There’s a deeper problem though – our collective mindset, our sense of entitlement.
    Most of my friends and acquaintances are well-informed and reasonably science literate, but mention the climate crisis and they get fidgety and change the subject. People might be willing to recycle their takeaway coffee cups or plastic bags, but still insist on driving across the country for a weekend trip, and still plan international flights once COVID permits. A glance at any holiday resort shows a phalanx of double-cab utes, jet skis, power boats, and big motorbikes.
    Reports I’ve seen suggest we are already on track for a minimum of +2.4C above pre-industrial even if nations fulfil their rather vague COP pledges. And let’s face reality: those pledges will almost certainly fail.
    Talk of “green growth”, of a return to business as usual, of “build back better” – these are mere fantasies.
    Politicians of all major parties make a living by selling delusional optimism; they know damn well that if they enact policies that limit citizens to a genuinely sustainable ecological footprint, they’ll get booted out of office. Presumably our MPs are not all stupid; so how they get to sleep at night I have no idea.
    The laws of physics take no prisoners. Our kids will live in a less prosperous and far more insecure world.
    Think I’m exaggerating? The USA’s Directorate of National Intelligence recently released the report “Global Trends 2040”. I invite all those who doubt the critical nature of climate disruption to skim through it.
    Looking to the 2030s and 2040s, it sees a world ravaged by climate change, which will disrupt food supplies, result in the hoarding of food and a global famine that will result in widespread civil unrest and propel mass migration.
    p. 118 et seq: “A wave of unrest spreads across the globe, protesting governments’ inability to meet basic human needs and bringing down leaders and regimes.”

    1. Activists sometimes claim that we have to provide solutions – positive news – rather than spread alarm and despondency. This research (link below) contradicts that view completely. People need a few more nasty shocks before we’re willing to make effective change.
      “The high sentiments always win in the end. The leaders who offer blood, sweat and tears always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.” George Orwell
      I hope he’s correct.

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